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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Widodo Reelected Indonesian President; Rival to Challenge Poll Results

JAKARTA – The incumbent president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, was officially announced reelected on Tuesday in the national elections held in April beating his rival, a former military general, who vowed to move court against alleged electoral fraud.

The General Election Commission (KPU) officially declared Widodo’s victory on Tuesday, a day ahead of the scheduled date, with the president receiving 55.5 percent or 85 million votes out of the total 154 million ballots cast.

Prabowo Subianto, Widodo’s opponent, is said to have received 44.5 percent of votes.

Surveys about the April 17 elections had already predicted the victory of Widodo, who managed to renew his mandate in the world’s third biggest democracy.

Having already rejected the provisional results earlier, Prabowo has refused to accept the victory of the charismatic and moderate president – popularly knows as Jokowi – and has mobilized his supporters with street protests.

The former general’s team refused to sign the KPU document announcing the results. Hours later, he confirmed he would file a complaint in the Constitutional Court about electoral fraud, allegations which he has leveled repeatedly, even before the elections were held.

In a press conference at his home in the Indonesian capital, Prabowo said he would take legal and constitutional measures to “protect the sovereignty of the people,” alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated during the election.

One of his spokespersons, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, said in a statement that they opted for the legal challenge after receiving evidences of “structured, systematic, massive, and brutal electoral fraud.”

Prabowo was similarly defeated by Widodo in 2014 in controversial elections. He then unsuccessfully challenged the results in the Constitutional Court, with the outcome leading to street demonstrations.

Although the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) has ruled out large-scale irregularities that could affect the election results or a planned electoral fraud attempt by Widodo’s campaign team, many followers of Prabowo do not trust its integrity.

Even as president celebrated his victory and said he was the leader of all Indonesians, hundreds of Prabowo supporters began to gather in front of the Bawaslu headquarters in Jakarta amid heavy security.

The nationalist former soldier had allied with a number of Islamist groups – who generally lead demonstrations in his support – in order to woo the conservative sections of the majority Muslim country.

Caps being sold at an improvised street-shop on Tuesday near the KPU office sported slogans such as “constitutional jihad.”

One of the protesters, who spoke to EFE on the condition of anonymity fearing repercussions, said he did not trust the democracy, accusing the government of “hiding the truth” and “manipulating the electoral process.”

United Nations agencies and a number of embassies have issued alerts related to the protests, although no clashes were reported immediately.

The police has deployed around 32,000 officers of the security forces and surrounded the headquarters of electoral institutions with barbed-wire fences as well as anti-riot vehicles and forces.

Authorities have also warned about the possibility of terrorist strikes during the protests and have arrested dozens of suspected militants who were allegedly planning attacks.

Widodo swept 21 provinces, registering sizable leads in areas with Hindu or Christian majority – such as Bali and Papua, while Prabowo dominated 13 provinces, with Aceh – a province where the Islamic law Shariah is observed – emerging as one of his bastions.

Simultaneous elections were also held to elect the vice-president and nearly 20,000 lawmakers at the national, provincial and local level.


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